This is what the insulation in the walls of our new house looks like:
It’s euphemistically referred to as “blown cellulose,” but it’s really just shredded newspaper. If we look closely, we can read some words on it. The amount of newspaper used to insulate our house is as much as we’d go through in twenty years. (If, y’know, we read printed newspapers.) It’s a great insulator, but it uses a stunningly small amount of energy to create, when compared to fiberglass and other forms of insulation commonly used in contemporary houses. It’s sprayed with borate, so insects don’t want it, it’s fireproof, and it won’t mold. (Because it’s packed more tightly, preventing the flow of air within walls, it’s actually more fire resistant than fiberglass.) For you energy geeks out there, it’s an R value of 4.0, compared to fiberglass batts’ 3.2.
It’s a small thing, but it’s one of dozens of such touches that I really like about our new house. The drywall went up this week so, with any luck, we’ll never see our newspaper insulation again.